CABANATUAN CITY—At least 15 points along various irrigation canals in Nueva Ecija have been identified by agriculture officials as sites for mini-hydropower generation in the advent of technology that allows the installation of turbines requiring minimal water forces.
Josephine Salazar, department manager for the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS), said the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is conducting preparatory work for six of the 15 sites that her office had identified.
PNOC, she said, is coordinating the project with local governments and power distributors. “They are already conducting a study, tapping NEECO 1 and NEECO 2 (Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperatives 1 and 2), plus working for clearances with local governments,” she said.
Antonio Nangel, NIA administrator, said that a site with a water drop of 5 cubic meters per second at a height of 5 to 6 meters (called “head”), can generate 300 kilowatts of electricity.
“There are new technologies where turbines can be installed with very minimal requirements,” Nangel said.
Salazar said the UPRIIS continues to supply irrigation water coming from two small dams, which are possible sites for mini-hydro plants.
She said the installation of turbines is expected to start in September so the mini-hydropower plants would operate early next year.
Nangel said the project will also generate additional income for the irrigation system, which will make the NIA-
UPRIIS more viable.
“This will mean more assistance to both UPRIIS employees and farmers,” he said.
He said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has asked the NIA to identify possible mini-hydro sites in Mindanao and the Visayas.
Nangel said the agency is expecting at least 150 mini-hydro plants to be built along NIA irrigation canals in the country. These facilities, he said, could generate a total combined power of 20 megawatts daily. Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon